Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Book Review | Caraval by Stephanie Garber


I am obsessed with Legend.

Flat out, unashamed obsessed with Legend.  And I'm not the only one, or else this book wouldn't be written!  Well, maybe I shouldn't say that everyone in the book is obsessed with Legend, per se, but more the grand Caraval that he puts on annually.  It's been said that he never hosts it in the same place twice.  

Legend is a man of mystery.  People have claimed to have met him, but no one can be really sure.  All that we know about him, is at the beginning of this book, he agrees to bring our main character, Scarlett, her sister Tella, and Scarlett's fiancĂ© to this year's Caraval.  



Book Basics
Name:  Caraval
Author:  Stephanie Garber
Pages:  401
Chapters:  42 + Epilogue
Genre:  YA Fiction/Fantasy
Tagline:  Remember, it's only a game
Synopsis from book jacket:
"Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father.  Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval - the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show - are over.
But this year, Scarlett's long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives.  With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show.  Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval's mastermind organizer, Legend.  It turns out that this season's Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance.  Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.  And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever." 



Review (Spoiler Free)
I hadn't read any reviews about this book before jumping into it.  The cover is beautiful,  so that definitely caught my eye, and the plot sounded really interesting.  I love anything with magic, and the whole game aspect really drew me in.  Once I started it, I didn't want to put it down.  I think I read about 200 pages in the first day, and easily would have kept going if I didn't have stupid adult responsibilities to deal with.

The characters are all likable enough.  I didn't find myself getting frustrated with anyone.  The narration is done in third person, but follows Scarlett exclusively.  It is established early on that she sees her emotions through colors, so the way that her emotions are described are always very interesting.  The author does a great job with waking up your senses, using so much descriptive language that allows you to muster up the exact experience that the characters are experiencing, like when Scarlett's father walks in the room and smells like "anise and lavender and something akin to rotted plums".

Scarlett is also your typical YA ingenue who has never had much experience with being around men before, so when placed in predicaments where they find her attractive, she doesn't exactly know how to handle it.  It isn't bothersome in my mind, since I kind of come to expect this out of YA novels at this point, especially dystopian-type novels.  Tella, on the other hand, is pretty much Scarlett's exact opposite, which brings a nice juxtaposition to the girls.

The actual Caraval game is so interesting to me.  I certainly would be an observer, which is an option, since it definitely seems like it is very easy to get carried away.  Throughout the novel, I would have to keep reminding myself that is was just a game, much like Scarlett would, but the consequences seemed to be so real!  The Caraval world is laid out perfectly, and the book does include a little map at the front to give you a feel for the setting.

Without giving anything away, I can say that just about every time you think you have something figured out, you're swerved in a different direction.  I was guessing until the very end, and I mean the very end.  It does appear that this is going to be a series, which kind of annoys me if I don't know it going in, but in this case I am so happy!  I want more and more and more of this story and this world.  I haven't been able to find much about it online, but it does appear that the book will come out in 2018.  I absolutely cannot wait!



Have you read Caraval?  Let me know what you think in the comments below, and PLEASE keep it spoiler free!  And let me know what you are currently reading!  I'm always on the lookout for something new!

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